TRENTON, N.J. – Elena Slough (search), documented as the nation's oldest person, died Sunday at the nursing home where her daughter died three days before. She was 114 or 115, according to different sources.
Slough died in her sleep at the Victoria Manor Nursing Home (search), where she and her 90-year-old daughter, Wanda Allen, lived, according to Judy Moudy, a supervisor at the Lower Township facility.
The Gerontology Research Group (search) said Slough was born on July 8, 1889, making her 114 years old at the time of her death. But Krista Rickards, director of marketing at Victoria Manor, said Slough's son had a 1930 document that listed his mother as being born in 1888, which would have made her 115.
What is not in dispute is that Slough had been the oldest person in the United States since April, when 113-year-old Mary Dorothy Christian died in San Pablo, Calif. Christian was born on June 2, 1889.
"(Slough) is the oldest living American as of the time she died," Dr. L. Stephen Coles, executive director of the Gerontology Research Group, said Sunday.
The organization, which is affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine, maintains a Web site of the oldest people alive. Three different types of documentation — birth or baptismal certificates, marriage certificates and census data — are used to verify ages.
According to the organization's Web site, Slough was the third-oldest living person in the world. Kamato Hongo turned 116 last month, and Mitoyo Kawate turned 114 in May. Both are Japanese.
The oldest person on record was Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who was 122 when she died in 1997.
Slough, who was born Elena Rodenbaugh in a log cabin in Horsham, Pa., lived through 21 presidents and seven U.S. wars.
Charlotte Benkner of North Lima, Ohio, is now the nation's oldest person and the world's third-oldest, according to the research group. The German-born woman will turn 114 on Nov. 16.